Your Future Potential
What is your future potential? What are you doing about it? There are three types of responses to this question: 1. Avoid thinking about your future potential out of fear of disappointment 2. Define your present and future by your past 3. Own your future and embrace that path to actualizing your future potential is paved with failure. In this episode I share what it means to have future potential, how to take action to fulfill your future potential, and examples from my life and from my coaching practice. “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” - Eleanor Roosevelt
Full Episode Transcript
Hello! Welcome to the episode 26 of Born to Thrive with Jamie Lee. I’m your host and coach, Jamie Lee. My mission is to help ambitious people become bolder, braver and better paid.
Recently I’ve been focused on doing one-on-one coaching deep dives with my clients to help them lead a thriving life and career because I believe we’re all born to thrive.
In this process, I’m learning that one of the things that sets my ideal clients apart from others is that they are excited, they are motivated by their future potential.
So, I’m curious.
What is your future potential?
What is the future you want to create?
Or in other words, what’s your dream?
When I ask this question, I typically get three types of responses.
The first type is they actively avoid their future potential out of fear of disappointment. They say, “You know, it’s overwhelming to me to think about my future potential because when I start thinking about what I want to create in the future, my mind automatically goes to how it can all go wrong and I have evidence from my past to prove it will go wrong because it has gone wrong. That experience was so painful. I don’t think I can live with that disappointment ever again. So I’d rather not think about it. I’d rather stick to what I’m familiar with. Sure. I know I’ll get the same predictable results, the same-old-same-old. But you know what? I’d rather live with that than risk the status quo.”
Familiar with this type? They’re not very happy. But they’re getting by. And they want to stay that way and so they do.
The second type of response is the most common. They define their present and their future by their past. They say, “You know, in the past, I have done x, y, and z. So I can probably do x, y, and z in the future. I see myself as a person who does x, y, and z.”
And when I’m helping my clients with their unique value proposition statement as part of their negotiation strategy, we work on articulating their contributions and accomplishments, but often the emphasis is on past contributions and accomplishments only.
There is tremendous value in your future potential if you can articulate it in a compelling way.
So, the last type, number three. This type, they own it. They own their future potential. They embrace that failure is not a barrier, but the path to creating the future that they want.
They say, “I want to make a positive impact in the world. In the future, I want to lead and I’m starting now by leading by my example and in my actions. I’m already contributing now but in the future, I will contribute in a bigger way and that possibility excites me. And for this future, I’m willing to be courageous today. I’m willing to be brave today. I’m willing to be generous because I will create abundance that benefits others. I’m committed to taking small, tiny steps every day to make that future a reality. Sure, I make plenty of mistakes and I fail often because I’m only human but I own my mistakes and I learn from my failures. I am learning by doing and failing is the best way to learn.”
This type, they articulate their future potential. They’re going to contribute more value, they’re going to lead, they’re going to make a positive impact. They take consistent and committed action to realize their future potential. This is my ideal client.
Here’s the thing about your future potential: it can be big. It can be audacious. Or it can be small. It can be specific. It can be anything you want. It can be anything that you can imagine.
I have a client who wants to become COO of an established tech company.
I have another client who wants to start her own consulting business and have more freedom to enjoy time with her family.
I have another client who wants to lead an international business that benefits third world countries.
I have another client who wants to create abundance so that she can become a patron of the arts. And I want to create a million-dollar coaching practice that creates exponential results for my clients.
Our future potential is our dream. It’s our desire for a bigger, bolder future that motivates us today to take action, to speak up, to brave uncomfortable asks. Our future potential drives our actions in the now.
But of course, by definition, the future has not arrived yet. By definition, whatever it is that we want in the future is impossible until the very moment it happens. So, until the very moment it happens, your future potential is just a thought. It’s a very powerful thought.
And this blew my mind when it dawned on me that your future potential only exists in the mind of those who believe in it and who can perceive it.
What you think of your future creates your future.
And that’s because your thought creates emotions that inspire action that generates results.
So, let me give you some concrete examples from my own life. When I was a kindergartener in South Korea - I was born in South Korea - my kindergarten teacher asked what I wanted to be when I grow up. And I gave this a thought and I realized I wanted to become a teacher or a writer and this thought of becoming a teacher or writer as an adult generated feelings of desire to learn and to grow and I followed through on that by reading a ton of books as a young kid and the result is that my dream has come true.
Now I teach and I coach adults on how to communicate and lead so that they can thrive. Every day I’m writing something to propel my coaching business, to prepare the podcast episodes like this one or to communicate or to prepare for my talks.
When I was maybe around 6 or 7, my father decided to emigrate the family to America. And he had a dream. He dreamed that his daughters would get an American education which is top notch and to become fluent in English. He believed that the ability to speak English would be the key that unlocks our future potential in America.
So, he had the desire for a better future for his daughters and he followed through on that by taking action, by moving us here and by working incredibly hard. My parents hardly took a vacation. I don’t think they ever took a vacation when I was a kid.
And you know what? His dream came true!
Now, three sisters, all of us, are fluent in English and some other languages and we are all college educated. We are all gainfully employed and we are all happy, functioning adults, and we all make more money than our parents did as immigrant shopkeepers.
Yeah, it’s real. It really moves me to think about that.
And when I was a high school student, by that time, my parents got a divorce, and I was living with my mother. So she was, by then, raising the three of us by herself as a single mom while running a small business and she wanted me to win scholarships to pay for my college education. She had a thought that Jamie can do it! So she sat me down and she told me she could pay exactly $2,000 per year for my college education.
She trusted I would figure it out. She trusted I would make it work. She trusted in my future potential.
And her dream came true! I applied to and I got into Smith College and I got a full ride my first year. You know, it probably helped that I came from a single-parent family with two other sisters and I worked incredibly hard as well and in the subsequent years, my mom paid just about $2,000 and the rest was covered by college grants. So, her dream came true.
And when I was younger, I see that my future potential was dreamed up. It was simply dreamed up by me and by my parents. And we worked hard to realize that potential because they believed in my future potential. They made huge sacrifices. They moved the family across the world. They worked really, really hard. And they did everything in their power to help actualize that dream, to help actualize my potential.
And I imagine that as you are listening to this, you can relate to my story. Even if you are not an immigrant from Asia, even if you didn’t go to college on scholarships, there was a part of you that dreamt of your future as a kid. There were people and adults along the way who believed in your future potential and they helped you get where you are today.
When we’re young, we dream. We plan for the future. We work towards it. But once we become adults, a lot of us stop dreaming of our future potential and we just start living by default. We just start living by defining our present and future by our past.
It was the same case for me. For many years after college, it was very hard for me to imagine my future potential in a way that felt good, in a way that felt exciting, in a way that motivated me to do better, to show up, to brave uncomfortable conversations.
And now I realize that was because I had become so comfortable and familiar with school and its rules and regulations were the first 17 years of my most formative years. I knew school. I did school well. I identified as a student by my past whose future potential was become a better student.
And in the 10+ years since college and until now, I went through a period of time where I didn’t feel like I had a future potential because I couldn’t dare dream of something impossible, something that hadn’t yet happened in my life.
It was hard for me to dream of a future that was not defined by my past. And now, I’m in my mid-thirties, I’m still very young, and I’m reclaiming my future. My future need not be defined by my past or even by my present, because it’s just whatever I can imagine. It’s whatever desire, whatever I can dream of.
And I know that, from experience, what I dream of, what I can imagine, is my future potential and I have the ability to actualize that future potential.
So, I choose to believe in my future.
I choose to practice thinking in a way that generates this feeling of excitement, motivation and desire, because I know that this feeling of excitement, motivation, and desire will lead me to taking action, lead me to taking risks, lead me to creating podcasts like this one and that I trust it can make the kind of impact that I can imagine.
In other words, my future potential, my dream, drives me to create a bolder, braver and bigger tomorrow.
My future potential drives me to work hard to create that million-dollar coaching practice that creates exponential results for my clients.
It will be impossible until the moment it happens. It will be impossible at the moment I see a million dollars in my account or whatever, but I know that if I can dream it, I can do it.
So, what is your dream?
How will you make your future potential a reality?
I’d love for you to sit with that, think about it, dream about it, journal about it. Something magical happens when you write your dreams and goals down and there’s tons of research to support this as well.
Tell me about it! Feel free to reach out. I’m firstname.lastname@example.org and I’m really excited to hear about your exciting future potential and what awesome action you take today to help make that a reality. I know that your future potential has the power to create your future and that your future potential has the power to help you lead a thriving life and career. Talk to you soon. Bye!